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Get a Grip

Eastern Backhand - Sampras

The classic one handed topspin backhand used by Laver and Edberg.

Reference points: base knuckle of the index finger is on top of the handle, the thumb placed diagonally across the back of the handle, "V" of the hand intersects line 8. Palm is parallel to the ground. Fingers spread, butt end of handle just out of the hand.

Point of contact: in front of the right foot.

Optimum contact height: knee level to midchest area.

Feel: swinging up and through the ball, contact well in front.

Pros and cons: elegant backhands, but grip is a long way from the semiwestern forehand.

Two Handed Backhand - Hingis, Williams

Basic two-handed stroke favored by most touring players.

Reference points: V of right hand falls between line one and eight. V of left and is on line one.

Point of contact: just off front hip.

Optimum contact height: above knee level to just above the navel.

Feel: swinging up and through the ball. A compact, solid stroke.

Pros and cons: more power and leverage than the one hander. Easier to hit high, loopy balls by moving forward and taking them at chest height. Less reach than one hander, requires quicker footwork. Harder to chip or slice.

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